[ExI] level 4 almost

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Tue Dec 6 13:25:19 UTC 2022


Baidu claimed they were going to release a level 4 self-driving car, almost.
What happened answers a lot of legal questions I have had for a long time.


A level 4 car can drive itself without a steering wheel so the passenger (if
any) is not liable for what the car does.  We already have geofenced areas
around here (the Google campus has one) where they can be operated legally.
As I understand it, if a level 4 kills somebody on Google's campus, Google
is responsible for it.


A level 4 is critically important to a lot of people because at some point
in life our driving ability declines and we get to where even if we don't
trust computers to drive us, we trust it more than we trust ourselves and
furthermore. we might have a stroke or something and we want to tell the car
to turn around, take me to Stanford, tell my doctor I am coming and have the
undertaker ready, that kinda thing.


Now I am hearing Baidu is still going ahead with it, but will only sell it
to a taxi company, which assumes the liability.  It occurred to me the same
thing is likely to happen here: L4s will become available only to those with
deep pockets and only in certain areas.  


So we could see them in places where they make sense: extended retirement
communities such as Sun City Arizona, places where there is a lotta money
such as Palo Alto and those areas around Google, but market penetration may
take years after the technology is here and being demonstrated.  As we
foresaw 20 years ago: self-driving may end up being more a legal question
than a technical challenge, for technology is fast, law is slow.


In the meantime: take good care of your health and vision for it might be a
while yet before we have the option of a level 4 self-driver.



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